w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n



Employees' State Insurance Corporation rep by its Regional Director Pondicherry v/s M/s. Pondicherry Agro Service & Industries Corporation Ltd (A Government of Pondicherry Undertaking) & Another


Company & Directors' Information:- R K B AGRO INDUSTRIES LIMITED [Active] CIN = L17100KA1979PLC003492

Company & Directors' Information:- J R AGRO INDUSTRIES PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15342UP1982PTC005792

Company & Directors' Information:- B M AGRO INDUSTRIES LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1992PLC049988

Company & Directors' Information:- R S AGRO INDUSTRIES PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15319DL1998PTC097025

Company & Directors' Information:- S N T AGRO INDUSTRIES PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U01122DL1997PTC086925

Company & Directors' Information:- D D AGRO INDUSTRIES LIMITED [Active] CIN = U24219PB1999PLC022487

Company & Directors' Information:- S S D AGRO INDUSTRIES PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15100MH1998PTC113744

Company & Directors' Information:- S. A. B. INDIA AGRO INDUSTRIES LIMITED [Active] CIN = U01403UP2009PLC038365

Company & Directors' Information:- U K AGRO INDUSTRIES PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U15114UP2003PTC028107

Company & Directors' Information:- R. K. AGRO INDUSTRIES PRIVATE LIMITED [Under Process of Striking Off] CIN = U15410WB2012PTC180269

Company & Directors' Information:- R J AGRO INDUSTRIES PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U15311KA2005PTC035485

Company & Directors' Information:- S O I AGRO INDUSTRIES PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U15310GJ2010PTC059966

Company & Directors' Information:- S I P AGRO INDUSTRIES LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U01403WB2012PLC188362

Company & Directors' Information:- S. S. AGRO INDUSTRIES PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15490PN2013PTC146574

Company & Directors' Information:- J J AGRO INDUSTRIES PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15130MH1980PTC023302

Company & Directors' Information:- A R AGRO INDUSTRIES PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1992PTC050526

Company & Directors' Information:- G S AGRO INDUSTRIES PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U01132WB1990PTC049960

Company & Directors' Information:- D V AGRO INDUSTRIES PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U74899DL1993PTC051892

Company & Directors' Information:- P AND G AGRO INDUSTRIES P LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U99999UP1985PTC007509

Company & Directors' Information:- R. K. G. S. AGRO INDUSTRIES PRIVATE LIMITED [Active] CIN = U15100UP2017PTC097391

Company & Directors' Information:- V G AGRO INDUSTRIES LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U01400DL1993PLC051666

Company & Directors' Information:- S R A AGRO SERVICE INDIA PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U51909TZ2002PTC010346

Company & Directors' Information:- T S AGRO INDUSTRIES PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U15209UP1987PTC008974

Company & Directors' Information:- B AND P AGRO INDUSTRIES PRIVATE LIMITED [Strike Off] CIN = U01110MH1972PTC015574

Company & Directors' Information:- P V R K AGRO INDUSTRIES PVT LTD [Strike Off] CIN = U01119AP1988PTC008395

Company & Directors' Information:- K R P AGRO INDUSTRIES PVT LTD [Active] CIN = U01110MH1991PTC062304

    W.A. No. 1271 of 2011

    Decided On, 17 December 2014

    At, High Court of Judicature at Madras

    By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE M. JAICHANDREN & THE HONOURABLE MRS. JUSTICE ARUNA JAGADEESAN

    For the Appellant: M. Venkatachalapathy, Senior Advocate for G. Bharadwaj, Advocate. For the Respondents: R1, T.P. Manoharan, Advocate, R2, N. Mala, AGP. (Pondy).



Judgment Text

(Prayer: This writ appeal has been filed against the order passed by the learned single Judge of this Court in W.P.No.19054 of 2008 dated 23.12.2010.)

M. Jaichandren, J.

1. Heard the learned counsels appearing for the parties concerned.

2. The present writ appeal has been filed by the Employees' State Insurance Corporation, Pondicherry, (hereinafter referred to as 'the Corporation') against the order of the learned single Judge of this Court, dated 23.12.2010, made in W.P.No.19054 of 2008.

3. The appellant Corporation had filed the writ petition, in W.P.No.19054 of 2008, praying for the issuance of a writ of Certiorari to call for the records relating to the order of the second respondent, dated 18.2.2008, published in the Gazette of Pondicherry, dated 4.3.2008.

4. The main issue, that had arisen for the consideration of the learned single Judge in the said writ petition, is as to whether the appellant Corporation, the petitioner in the writ petition, is entitled to challenge the order passed by the Government of Puducherry, the second respondent herein, in granting exemption, by the exercise of its power under Section 87 of the Employees' State Insurance Act, 1948 (hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'). The appellant Corporation had challenged the statutory notification issued by the second respondent, dated 18.2.2008, exempting the first respondent, which is a Government owned undertaking, from the provisions of the Act.

5. The learned single Judge, while dismissing the writ petition, by his order, dated 23.12.2010, made in W.P.No.19054 of 2008, had held that the appellant Corporation is only a consultative body, as per Section 90 of the Act. It had also been held that, when a dispute arises, under Section 75 of the Act, it should be decided only by the Employees Insurance Court. It was further held that when an exemption is granted making the provisions of the Act inapplicable, there is no scope for the Corporation, the appellant herein, to challenge the same. The appellant Corporation cannot be said to be an aggrieved party, to challenge the order granting exemption. The learned single Judge had relied on the decision of the Allahabad High Court, in U.P. STATE ROAD TRANSPORT CORPORTION Vs. ESIC (2009 (2) LLN 130) = 2009 (1) LLN 247, to direct the Corporation to refund the amounts collected from the establishment, with interest. Accordingly, the appellant Corporation has been directed to refund the amount of Rs.37,27,475.93/-, recovered from the first respondent. However, the learned single Judge had rejected the request of the first respondent for the payment of the interest on the said amount.

6. Aggrieved by the said order, the appellant Corporation has filed the present writ appeal, raising several grounds.

7. The learned counsel appearing on behalf of the appellant Corporation had submitted that the learned single Judge had erred in considering the Corporation as a Department of the Government of Puducherry, especially, when it is an admitted case of the first respondent that the exemption had been sought from the provisions of Employees' State Insurance Act, 1948.

8. It had been further stated that the learned single Judge had erred in holding that Section 87 of the Act is not applicable to the first respondent and that only Section 90 of the Act could be invoked to enable the first respondent to claim the exemption from the provisions of the Act.

9. It had also been stated that the amounts collected, as contribution, by the appellant Corporation, from the employers and the employees, are spent for the benefit of the employees.

10. It had also been stated that the findings of the learned single Judge that the appellant Corporation had no locus standi to challenge the order of the second respondent, granting exemption to the first respondent from the provisions of the Act, is erroneous in the eye of law. The learned single Judge had erred in accepting the claim of the Government that the employees of the first respondent are in receipt of the benefits similar or superior to the benefits provided by the Employees' State Insurance Corporation.

11. It had also been stated that the learned single Judge, having held that the provisions, under Section 1(4) of the Act, is not applicable for claiming any exemption, ought to have decided the issue relating to the granting of exemption, as per Section 87 of the Act, instead of resorting to Section 90 of the Act, which would be applicable only to the local bodies.

12. It had also been stated that the learned single Judge had erred in holding that the employees ought to have been made as parties to the proceedings, relying on the decision of the Supreme Court, in EMPLOYEES' STATE INSURANCE CORPORATION Vs. BHAKRA BEAS MANAGEMENT BOARD (2009 (10) SCC 671).

13. The learned counsel appearing for the appellant had also relied on the following decisions in support of his contentions:

1. REGIONAL DIRECTOR, EMPLOYEES' STATE INSURANCE CORPORATION Vs. NARAYAN CHANDRA RAJKHOWA AND OTHERS (1997) 11 SCC 234).

2. EMPLOYEES' STATE INSURANCE CORPORATION Vs. F.FIBRE BANGALORE (P) LTD (1997) 1 SCC 625.

3. BANGALORE TURF CLUB LTD Vs. ESI CORPN. (2014) 9 SCC 657.

14. Per contra, Mr.T.P.Manoharan, the learned counsel for the first respondent and Ms.N.Mala, the learned Additional Government Pleader appearing for the second respondent, had contended that the claim made on behalf of the appellant Corporation cannot be accepted. They had said that a mere comparision of the benefits provided by the first respondent and the benefits provided under the provisions of the Employees' State Insurance Act would show that the benefits provided by the first respondent are superior in nature.

15. It had also been stated that the Government of Puducherry has established the first respondent, as one of its undertakings, on 26.3.1986, for the development of agriculture and other agro related activities in the Union Territory of Puducherry. The first respondent is a registered Government Company, under the Companies Act, 1956. It is a service oriented organisation of the Government and it had started functioning, from 1.1.1987.

16. It had also been stated that, only a factory or an establishment belonging to a Government or a local authority, providing benefits to its employees, substantially similar or superior to the benefits provided by the Employees' State Insurance Act to its employees could apply for exemption, under Section 90 of the said Act. Considering the materials available before it, the Government may, after obtaining the comments and views of the Employees State Insurance Corporation, take a decision for passing orders granting the exemption, by following certain procedures. During the year, 1989, various provisions of the Act had been amended, under the Amending Act 29 of 1989, with effect from 20.10.1989. By the said amending Act, a new proviso had been inserted to sub Section (4) of Section 1 of the Act. Further, the words 'Government or' contained in Section 90 of the Act has been deleted. In view of the said amendment, if a factory or an establishment belonging to the Government is providing certain benefits to its employees, substantially similar or superior to the benefits provided under the Act, the said Act would not apply to it and the same shall stand automatically excluded from the applicability of the provisions of the Act. As such, the contentions raised on behalf of the appellant Corporation cannot be accepted. Further, it is for the appellant Corporation to approach the Employees' Insurance Court, under Section 75 of the Act, if a dispute arises relating to the comparative benefits provided to its employees.

17. The learned counsels appearing for the respondents had relied on the following decisions in support of their contentions:

1. LIC Vs. ASHA RAMCHHANDRA AMBEKAR (1994) 2 SCC 718.

2. REGIONAL DIRECTOR, E.S.I. CORPN., HYDERABAD Vs. M/S.ZUARI CEMENT LTD. (2008 LAB I.C. 1602).

3. DISTRICT COLLECTOR, ERODE DIST. ERODE Vs. M.PONNUSAMY (2001 (2) CTC 449).

4. M/S.KANCOR INGREDIENTS LTD. Vs. REGIONAL DIRECTOR (KERALA) 2012 LAB I.C. 1493.

18. In view of the submissions made by the learned counsels appearing for the parties concerned and on a perusal of the records available and on considering the decisions cited supra, we are of the considered view that the contentions raised on behalf of the appellant Corporation cannot be countenanced. Once an exemption is granted by the Government concerned accepting the facts relating to the comparative benefits provided by the entity concerned and acknowledging that such benefits are substantially similar or superior in nature, as compared to those provided under the provisions of the Act, the said decision could only be challenged by approaching the Employees' In

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surance Court, under Section 75 of the Act. As such, it is clear that if there is any dispute with regard to the claim relating to the comparative benefits, it would not be open to the appellant Corporation to contest the same without furnishing substantial evidence contrary to the said claim. 19. In the present case, we are of the considered view that the appellant Corporation has not been in a position to show that the benefits provided by the first respondent to its employees are inferior in nature, as compared to those which are contemplated under the provisions of the Act. Even otherwise, it is not for this Court to conduct a roving enquiry into such contradictory claims, under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, especially, when the employees concerned, who are said to be the beneficiaries, are not before this Court. In such circumstances, we find it appropriate to dismiss the writ appeal, as it is devoid of merits. Accordingly, the writ appeal stands dismissed. No costs.
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